The Fifth Element/Headscratchers

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  • The ZF-1 replay button. Why would you want to shoot in the same spot again? If there was someone there, you already shot them. If you missed, you'll just keep missing.
    • Armor. Maybe there's some armor in the future that needs multiple shots to get through, breaking through would be easier if you can hit the same spot. Though otherwise... a useless function
      • That's what bursts are for. Just have it shoot three shots into the same place, then ignore it. And unless there's a whole lot of recoil, you can just assume that the gun is pointing in the same spot and not shoot again.
    • Two possibilites that I can guess. The First would basically be what the above troper says, you only need to shoot the spot once and then you can hide behind cover and hose the target with bullets with impunity. Alternatively, a more advanced feature would allow you to hone in on someone else's hit.
      • So you shoot someone that someone else already shot?
    • It might just be feature creep. As long as it looks impressive in a demonstration, it couldn't hurt sales.
      • This seems the most likely, especially compared with the other ludicrous features the gun has. Clearly the ZF-1 was meant to be showy, not a practical military weapon. Quite why the Mangalore, a so-called warrior race, were so enamoured with such a stupid device speaks volumes about their common sense, really.
    • Or, an ambush. You happen to know a busload of enemy are about to come from a certain spot (through a doorway, for example) and they'll be packed in rather tight. Fire one round at the area you want to point your Dakka towards, then hunker down behind cover, wait until they show up, and spray away like a madman, filling the air with lead, without ever exposing yourself to enemy fire.
    • Also, that feature would be very useful for covering fire, without the shooter doing the covering having to aim the same spot all the time or even expose oneself to return fire. And maybe there are options to spread the bullets around the same spot to cover more effectively.
      • They'd avoid that spot, which is pretty easy to see given that the bullets glow.
      • Yeah, that's kind of the idea of cover fire. Cover fire isn't to hit anyone, it's to keep the enemy's head down and away from a good firing position. So, if you've got enemies trying to come through a doorway, and you've got every bullet you fire going through that doorway, then it's very good at cover fire. Alternatively, if you shoot and kill someone who's manning a machinegun nest, that's now a machinegun nest that the enemy cannot use because the next poor sap that tries to fire it is going to get a hail of bullets for his trouble, without ever getting a shot at you.
        I think you're misunderstanding the role of automatic weapons in warfare. Thousands and thousands of rounds are fired in modern wars for every two or three enemies killed. The vast, vast majority of weapons fire is for suppression, area denial, and cover fire, not to kill anyone directly. Zorg's gun would be very effective at that if it could reliably spray the same area and keep the enemy away from it.
        • Cover fire is to get them to keep their heads down. Not to make them avoid a specific spot. It would still work if they don't realize they're all hitting the same spot, but again, the bullets glow.
    • First shot could paint the target so that no matter where they move or you aim, all ammo goes where you want it. No real wasted shots.
      • Except after the one that killed them, which you needed to shoot to use that mode in the first place. Did you read the comment?
      • So you're assuming that the first shot is always going to be an instant kill? Also, take note of how the bullets hit the dummy: They arc and curve, and while they all hit his body, they don't hit the exact same spot in the exact same way. Some are head and chest shots, some are to the side. So one way to use it is to shoot whatever cover your enemy's hiding behind, then point up and spray bullets so that when they curve to hit, they're coming down on top of the enemy instead of hitting his cover.
    • And it avoids friendly fire after the first shot.
      • At the expense of not shooting anyone else. You'd get the same results by not firing.
      • The gun can clearly be used on hardened targets as well. One bullet might not stop, say, a jeep, but a couple hundred right into the engine block would.
    • In Desert Storm a tactic used by F117 bombers hitting Iraq's hardened bunkers was to drop a bomb onto the roof of the bunker which would open a hole in the roof, then a second bomb would be dropped through the crater to destroy the contents of the bunker. This kind of accuracy was only possible through the use of laser guided smart bombs.
    • Resistance: Fall of Man has a gun with exactly this feature, and it is awesome, though granted the enemy are quite hard to kill anyway.
    • There's also the consideration that the Replay Button sends every following shot towards the same location, but it doesn't mean the following shots avoid anything in their course. Think about this. You're hitting a moving target. Shoot it once in the leg or arm, and then, even though all bullets go towards the arm, the body can turn in various ways in it's attempt to flee causing bullets to enter through other areas of the body JUST to get to the point on the arm. Also consider this strategy: you're facing down a room full of guys with minimal cover. Shoot once into the wall behind them and then send a flurry of flying bullets from behind cover hitting random targets as all bullets make their way to that spot while giving you perfect cover! It's not entirely impractical depending on how you choose to use it. The reason no Mangalore's were hit was because the shot wasn't in their direction, hence the bullets avoided them and turned around, but anyone in front of the dummy would've been swiss cheese! The advantage of a curving bullet can sometimes be more useful than a straight shooter.
    • How about the fact that you could shoot at an avenue of approach or a piece of key terrain from the safety of cover? It seems like a feature I would want to have in a weapon.
  • Leelo has a weeping breakdown upon learning about war from the encyclopedia. Given that she was reading in alphabetical order, what happened when she read the listings for anthrax, bomb, cancer, decimation, execution, fratricide, genocide, holocaust, inquisition, jihad, etc?
    • She didn't just stumble on the entry for War. She deliberately typed out "WAR". This implies that she had some idea of it already; but seeing all of it condensed together like that is more of what put her into Heroic BSOD territory.
      • Korben and Leelo have a conversation a bit earlier where he says she should already know about the evils of human nature from her encyclopedia. She tells him she's not finished, that she's only up to V. She should have encountered many other words before then. Worse words than "war", really.
    • It's been a while since I watched the movie, but I always thought that she lacked the emotional connection before realising how fragile she was herself.
    • This might be flimsy, but maybe with the previous entries ("torture", "jihad", etc.) to protect herself from what the "war" entry did to her, Leeloo had decided that those were simply evil things that people do and can be rationally explained away, for example, people torture with the specific goal of information, go on crusades and jihads because of religious beliefs which arise out of specific social conditions. She can justify those things as cause and effect. However even she can't see any logical reasons for the fact that war never, ever, ever goes away and is universal in all human civilisation. The true weight of Humans Are the Real Monsters hits her in one go and she can't reason it away.
    • Context. It's one thing to read about war and violence (notice her reaction to Martial Arts isn't to wince at the broken bones of the victims, but to make a Bruce Lee "Waaaa!") Knowing about war/violence/hate intellectually is one thing, but understanding through personal context is completely different, especially when the trauma is fresh in your mind. Also, it appeared as though the encyclopedia had summary entries that you could then expand into a larger, more detailed entry. It's possible she skimmed the summaries to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible and only read the detailed entries and watched videos of ones she was interested in.
  • It struck me that the flying restaurant boat guy has a really lousy business model. He's one guy who delivers food by flying his entire restaurant from place to place and sticking around long enough to make smalltalk with his customers. Realistically, he wouldn't be able to serve enough customers to keep his business going.
    • It might be that Korben is a favorite customer, and that's why he stuck around, or why he was right there in the first place. He might've been finishing up a run on the entire apartment building and stopped to chat with his last custmer before heading off. Or he might spend some days anchored to a busy intersection. You see him for all of five minutes, hardly enough to see his whole business model.
    • It depends on how much he charges each customer, doesn't it?
      • Although it hardly seems like Korben would be eating from an expensive restaurant given his implied current financial situation. I find it more likely that the old man just really enjoys what he does, is barely getting by financially, and really doesn't care. Or he's actually retired, and just does this for something to do.
        • Especially since he doesn't mind at all not being paid for lunch.
  • Alright, so 99% of this movie just runs joyfully on the MST3K Mantra. I'm fine with that! But the dual point that I just cannot wrap my head around is A) how on earth Plavalaguna ingested those stones in the first place, and B) how on earth she was planning to get them out again, if she hadn't been fatally shot. Can her species unhinge their jaws? What gives?
    • She was a Rubber Forehead Alien. Humanoids have two holes that go straight into their bodies. In a female's case, there's three(depending on definition).
      • Or, y'know, surgery. FUTURE surgery
      • Or her body is artificial and thus can be cut up without any harm.
  • Flying cars: This just bugs in whatever I see in in. What would be practical purpose of flying vehicles manned and owned by average people in a densely populated urban area? Especially when people jump off of a building could cause a multi-vehicle pileup (plane crash?) destroying both air cars AND buildings.
    • In this case, it just seems to be that kind of dangerous future. Anywhere you go, someone might have some kind of deadly future machinegun and kill you. The shuttles are infested with alien cling-ons.. That's why the police are so rabid. The cleaning robots in Zorg's office looked pretty unsafe too.
    • I think mainly because there's no other way to get around the city. You could build a city in such a way, but it's much too late for that now, they'd have to reconstruct Manhattan from the ground up. But look at the establishing shot of NYC and just how much has been added to the city in terms of height. It's probably far from perfect, but then tens of thousands of people die every year from ground car crashes and it's a sacrifice we make without thinking twice. No reason that a perceived/actual necessity should be so different.
  • Why exactly did Korben lose his job? It seems to me there were three possible ways. Zorg's henchman suggests they lay off employees from the cab companies, so there's that. A second possibility is that the Colonel who offers Korben the mission had him fired as an incentive to take the mission. That's why he knew about it so fast and brought it up. Korben even seems a little skeptical about it. Finally, it makes sense that Korben would lose his job once it became known that he'd used up the last point on his driver's liscense.
    • I'd say it's probably a combination of the first and third. It's implied that his firing is a result of Zorg getting rid of staff from his subsidiary companies, and since the process is certainly automated (how many was it? One million?), the computer probably was programmed to fire the "worst" employees. It checks his license, and bam. As for the Colonel, he probably only noticed as he was doing a background check on Korben for the mission (and the fact that he was unemployed may have contributed to them choosing him). It's the future, his information was probably updated the moment he was fired.
    • He was fired "Due to violation of codes: HFGY56, 74HVB, 00JGHY, MHN356585, MCNH465757, D476N" (Termination Notice)
  • The Mondoshawan that gets stuck in the temple in the prologue. Why can't they just open the door again and get him out once his hand gets stuck in it? Why do his compatriots leave without so much as a second glance behind?
    • Because those massive, several foot thick doors crushed him.
      • So what happens when future archaeologists find an alien figure stuck in there? It definitely wasn't there later.
      • Well, at some point between that scene and the "present", the Mondoshawan make explicit contact with Earth.
    • I didn't think that Mondo was left behind; I thought he was outside the room and the Priest was inside. The Mondo stuck his hand through with the key, the Priest grabbed the key and the Mondo pulled his hand out and left with the others. Meanwhile the Priest opens the door from the inside and runs out just as the Mondos take off.
    • ...Did you watch the movie? That's very clearly not at all what happened.
  • Ruby Rhod complains that Korben isn't a good interviewee because he only answers with simple yeses and nos. But the questions he's asking are yes or no questions. What did he expect? Not to mention how difficult it must be to understand Ruby talking so fast. Which brings me to wonder how Ruby's a successful talk show host in the first place.
    • It wasn't just his yes/no answers, but his uninspired delivery of them. So long as he sounded like he was bored and hungover it wouldn't have mattered how interesting his answers were, they'd have made for lousy radio.
    • Speaking as someone who does interviews, it's entirely possible, and even expected, that a "yes or no" question will be answered in a much more elaborate manner. Technically, "Did you enjoy the trip?" for example, is a yes or no question, but it'd be reasonable to expect the answer to be more along the lines of, "Yeah, the service was great, and I really loved the scenery from my window seat."
      • I was taught to avoid delivering yes and no questions since while you're expected to get a better answer, if you give someone the opportunity to answer in one word, they will likely take it. Granted, Korben was a really boring guest.
        • The thing is, most people would understand that in an interview situation, "Did you enjoy the trip?" is basically asking "How was the trip?" You'd only interpret it literally as "Did you enjoy the trip, yes or no?" if you were a bit dim or, as in Korben's case, completely and totally uninterested in being interviewed.
    • It's more likely that Ruby is such a huge star that he's used to people nervously babbling around him, judging by the flight attendant's reaction. Not to mention the nervous reaction of being on a show that popular would cause rambling answers, thus giving Ruby something to play off of.
  • Truly I hate to ask, as I'm sure I missed something, but what gender is Ruby Rhod in-universe? Are we actually supposed to take Ruby as a female or as simply a male who cross-dresses to an extraordinary degree?
    • Ruby Rhod is identified as "he" at least once (by one of the flight attendants, I think) and he isn't crossdressing - thats simply what happens if you tell Jean-Paul Gaultier to create an over the top costume for a character without regard for sanity, usefullness or common sense.
      • Chris Tucker did an amazing job with this, though.
      • On the Riff Trax, Michael J Nelson sums it up as "That's so gay that it circles back around and becomes heterosexual again."
  • Why are there 2D borders in space? And why weren't there any patrols?
    • While it's probably stretching it a bit, maybe there is another row beyond visual range, since the glowing things might have a huge range. This does mean you have to ignore how the ship was waiting patiently on the same axial plain as the beacons though.
    • Ships and airplanes can go a lot of places, but they're only supposed to enter foreign countries through prescribed ports. The "border" was kind of like that. Friendly craft coming into human territory need to stop at the border and request permission to enter. If you don't go in and out the prescribed way, you're violating our space.
  • Is no one concerned that a second moon is going to cause havok with the tides and tectonics? Granted, it's better than being blown up, but still...
    • If they can invent FTL starships, I daresay they can tow an object roughly the size of the moon out of Earth orbit. Or blow it to smithereens.
  • When Zorg leaves the resort ship the first time, he sets up a timebomb to kill everyone once he's safely away. Then he finds out that the case he stole doesn't actually have the stones in it. So he goes back to the ship, finds the bomb, and deactivates it at basically the last second. Then one of the Mangalore warriors reactivates it, killing Zorg and everyone else on the ship. Here's my question: why does the Mangalore have a control to detonate Zorg's bomb. How does that work?
    • It's been a while, but as I remember it Zorg plants a bomb and then returns and de-activates his own bomb. The Mangalore activates their bomb which they brought on because they're terrorists.
      • This is correct... Zorg's bomb was the tiny iBomb on the wall that he drops the card into to disarm. The Mangalore however, carried a bomb in to avenge themselves should the mission go bad.
  • Why would the most evil thing in the universe specifically target an Insignificant Little Blue Planet at the edge of the galaxy?
    • Because it holds the weapon specifically designed to destroy it. Note how it doesn't move at all until it looks like the weapon's actually going to be activated. Earth wasn't its primary target, otherwise it would've just gone straight there unimpeded and just wiped it out. It only targets Earth when the planet has basically put a gun to its head.
      • It still would have gone to Earth eventually, once it had the Stones, because as Cornelius explains the weapon area where Leeloo has to go will also function for Evil, turning life into death across the entire universe. Basically to answer OP: Earth isn't insignificant in this setting. For whatever reason, the elemental platform has to be built and used right in that spot, which makes Earth fairly significant.
      • Also implying that it was going to leave everyone alone until Earth "put a gun to its head" is... well, you've just leather pantsed the physical embodiment of all evil to ever exist. Good job, go home everybody, the ultimate leather pants have been found.
  • Dallas's apartment had a bunch of stuff that folded into the walls. It wouldn't take up any more apartment space if it was attached to the room directly and it would make the floor plan much simpler. Why did they build it that way?
    • Presumably it made sense when they built it. Either it really does make sense in a way that's not obvious to us or someone was using bad logic, either way this happens a lot in the real world too.